syndicalism


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syndicalism

(sĭn`dĭkəlĭzəm), political and economic doctrine that advocates control of the means and processes of production by organized bodies of workers. Like anarchists, syndicalists believe that any form of state is an instrument of oppression and that the state should be abolished. Viewing the trade union as the essential unit of production, they believe that it should be the basic organizational unit of society. To achieve their aims, syndicalists advocate direct industrial action, e.g., the general strikegeneral strike,
sympathetic cessation of work by a majority of the workers in all industries of a locality or nation. Such a stoppage is economic if it is for the purpose of redressing some grievance or pressing upon the employer a series of economic demands.
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, sabotagesabotage
[Fr., sabot=wooden shoe; hence, to work clumsily], form of direct action by workers against employers through obstruction of work and/or lowering of plant efficiency. Methods range from peaceful slowing of production to destruction of property.
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, slowdowns, and other means of disrupting the existing system of production. They eschew political action as both corruptive and self-defeating. The writings of Pierre Joseph ProudhonProudhon, Pierre Joseph
, 1809–65, French social theorist. Of a poor family, Proudhon won an education through scholarships. Much of his later life was spent in poverty. He achieved prominence through his pamphlet What Is Property? (1840, tr.
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, with his attacks on property, and of Georges SorelSorel, Georges
, 1847–1922, French social philosopher. An engineer before he devoted himself to writing, Sorel found in the political and social life of bourgeois democracy the triumph of mediocrity and espoused various forms of socialism, chiefly revolutionary syndicalism.
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, who espoused violence, have influenced syndicalist doctrine. Syndicalism, like anarchismanarchism
[Gr.,=having no government], theory that equality and justice are to be sought through the abolition of the state and the substitution of free agreements between individuals.
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, has flourished largely in Latin countries, especially in France, where trade unionism was for years strongly influenced by syndicalist programs. Syndicalism began a steady decline after World War I as a result of competition from Communist unions, government suppression, and internal splits between the revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists and moderate reformers. In the United States the chief organization of the syndicalist type was the Industrial Workers of the WorldIndustrial Workers of the World
(IWW), revolutionary industrial union organized in Chicago in 1905 by delegates from the Western Federation of Mines, which formed the nucleus of the IWW, and 42 other labor organizations.
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, which flourished early in the 20th cent. but was virtually extinguished after World War I.

Bibliography

See F. F. Ridley, Revolutionary Syndicalism in France (1970).

syndicalism

see ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM.

syndicalism

1. a revolutionary movement and theory advocating the seizure of the means of production and distribution by syndicates of workers through direct action, esp a general strike
2. an economic system resulting from such action
References in periodicals archive ?
(46) The exposition threaded together some of the themes that characterized syndicalism as a revolutionary doctrine.
In Participacao e Conflito Industrial: Contagem e Osasco, 1968 Weffort called attention to workers' autonomy in the social movements that were taking place then and to the need for workers' movements to break with the populist syndicalism, which was the prevailing political trend in Brazil from the 1950's.
The book is thus a contribution to the development of a map of transnational anarchism and syndicalism, as Bantman puts it, and the introduction includes a useful discussion of such historiographical developments and their reinvigoration of labor history.
The Russian anarchist, already quoted by Febvre in his writings on revolutionary syndicalism, was known for his works on the theory of mutual aid (Kropotkin, 1902).
The anarchists had substantial divisions over strategy and tactics that can be mapped onto two main poles: a "mass" anarchism that stressed patient organization, popular education and participation in immediate struggles preparatory to revolution, of which pole syndicalism was part; and an "insurrectionist," strongly anti-organizationalist anarchism (sometimes called "illegalist," or, misleadingly, "individualist") stressing spontaneity, informal groups and small-scale violent actions, or "propaganda of the deed" as a means of provoking revolution; this current opposed to unions and reforms.
Following the collapse of the OBU, the IWW would spend the next decade arguing the same question with the ascendant CPC, which, unlike the OBU, was able to offer a coherent theory and praxis to rival the IWW's brand of pragmatic, revolutionary syndicalism.
Syndicalism (he edited the Industrial Syndicalist) became his organising method and it resulted in the newly formed transport workers union winning the Liverpool transport strike.
"Radical Unionism: The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary Syndicalism" is deftly organized into two major sections: 'Dynamics of the Syndicalist Movement' and 'The Transition to Communism'.
Consequently, Niccolai describes the cafes and cabarets (Charpentier briefly worked at the arts journal Chat noir), the rise of syndicalism and musicians' unions, and "universites populaires" for the working classes.
From Syndicalism and Guild Socialism to "Parecon" and Participatory Planning, any number of models has been offered as an alternative to a centrally planned command economy, or merely Keynsian government management of economic activity.
Syndicalism, with its emphasis on solidarity, provided an organisational strategy that was effective in the ITGWU's first phase, culminating in the Dublin lockout of 1913, and again in wartime conditions, after 1917.
However, by the basic definition of international syndicalism, which has been functioning for more than 130 years, the strike is the last means," the Federation says.

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